tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS July 19, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
>> schieffer: tonight, rupert murdoch on the hot seat. >> this is the most humble day of my life. >> schieffer: then things got worse. >> oh! >> schieffer: elizabeth palmer and anthony mason on the newscorp chief getting a taste of humble pie. "a significant step," that's what president obama called a new bipartisan senate plan to avoid default. nancy cordes and norah o'donnell have the latest on that. and as n.f.l. players and owners fight over billions, john blackstone talks to retired players who have to scramble to get medical coverage for their injuries. >> reporter: two years in the n.f.l., what do you get? >> nothing. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley.
>> schieffer: and good evening. scott's off tonight, i'm bob schieffer. well, rupert murdoch called it "the most humbling day of his life," and he said he was sorry, but it wasn't his fault and he wasn't resigning. then someone hit him with a cream pie. that about summed up the parliamentary hearing into the police bribery and phone hacking scandal involving one of murdoch's british newspapers. we have two reports tonight from london. first, elizabeth palmer. liz? >> reporter: hello, bob. well, rupert murdoch testified for the very first time today and the eyes of the world were riveted on these hearings. he actually volunteered to answer the government's questions for the very first time since this scandal erupted. the man who runs the world's most powerful media empire today had the world's media running after him. but the crusty combative rupert murdoch of legend was a different man today. his wife, wendy deng at his beck next to his lawyer joel klein and his son james at his side.
the murdochs waited exactly 27 seconds to say "sorry." >> this is the most humble day of my life. >> i would like to say as well just how sorry i am and how sorry we are to particularly the victims of illegal voice mail interceptions and to their families. >> reporter: but sorry didn't mean they would admit knowing about widespread phone hacking and police bribery at the now- closed "news of the world" newspaper. though the lawmakers did try their best. >> mr. murdoch, at what point did you find out that criminality was endemic at "news of the world?" >> endemic is a very hard... very wide-ranging word and i also had to be extremely careful not to prejudice the course of justice which is taking place now. >> reporter: a criminal inquiry now under way let murdoch duck that question. but later, when he couldn't or wouldn't answer more pointed queries about who did know what
was going on at the newspaper, his son tried to come to the rescue. >> did you or anyone else at your organization investigate this at the time? >> no. >> can you explain why? >> i didn't know of it. >> i can address these in some detail if you would allow me. >> i will come to you, mr. murdoch. >> i'm simply offering to help to clarify these matters. >> your father is responsible and serious wrongdoing has been brought about in your company and it's revealing in itself what he doesn't know. >> reporter: by the time murdoch faced this grilling, hours of coaching by high-priced lawyers and p.r. experts was on show. he brought up the case that had most outraged the public, of the murdered teenager whose phone had been hacked. >> i was absolutely shocked, appalled and ashamed when i heard about the milley dowler case only two weeks ago. eight days before i was
graciously received by the dowlers. >> reporter: a hearing that was supposed to run one hour had gone twice that long when suddenly murdoch's wife leapt out of her seat and ran spectacular interference on a pie filled with shaving foam. aimed at murdoch by a young protestors who was promptly arrested and led away. when the hearing resumed, murdoch came back, unruffled, though minus his jacket. >> this terrible thing happened on your watch. mr. murdoch, have you considered resigning? >> no. >> why not? >> because i feel that people i trusted-- i'm not saying who, i don't know what level-- have let me down and i think they behaved disgracefully and betrayed the company and me and it's for them to pay. i think that, frankly, i'm the best person to clear this up. >> reporter: bottom line, the
murdochs pleaded ignorance today. they didn't know what was going on in their newsroom, they said, because nobody told them-- not their lawyers, not the police, and not certain employees who, as you just heard, they're still refusing to name. bob? >> schieffer: thank you very much, liz. the overriding question, of course, at today's hearing went unanswered. can murdoch maintain control of this worldwide empire that is now valued at $42 billion? anthony mason now with more on that. >> reporter: rupert murdoch has used his vast media empire to gain access to the world's most powerful leaders and to influence the election of presidents and prime ministers. >> rupert murdoch, you said earlier on that you have had frequent meetings with prime ministers during your career. in the period after the arrest... >> i wish they'd leave me alone. ( laughter ) >> reporter: murdoch joked about it today but they may want to leave him alone now. is rupert murdoch damaged? >> i think rupert murdoch's been hugely damaged by this.
>> reporter: charlie beckett of the london school of economics says murdoch's image as an all- conquering media tycoon has been undercut by questions. >> why didn't he know? why didn't he do something about it? who's in charge of news corporation? >> reporter: rupert murdoch built the news corporation from a single family-owned newspaper in south australia. in the 1960s he moved into britain, buying up the "news of the world" and later the "times" of london. in the '70s he took aim at new york where he'd add the "new york post" and the "wall street journal." his satellite t.v. empire includes the fox network in the u.s., sky in europe, star tv in asia. >> i love the free market. it's certainly been very good to me. >> reporter: but the same market is now punishing him, while stock in news corporation rebounded today, it's fallen 12% since the scandal began. >> my company has 52,000 employees. i have led it for 57 years and i have made my share of mistakes.
>> reporter: those mistakes might sink another c.e.o., but murdoch still controls 38% of the voting stock of news corporation. he does not, however, own a controlling interest in his reputation says "vanity fair's" sara ellison. >> to the extent that he can survive as the same kind of powerful entity i think is really in question. the spell is broken. people who believed in him as a genius business executive now really don't anymore. >> reporter: only recently "forbes" magazine ranked murdoch the 13th most powerful person in the world. that ranking is likely to fall now, along with the stock price. and news corporation's board may be forced to consider whether its chief asset has become a liability. bob? >> schieffer: thank you very much, anthony. anthony mason. the murdochs weren't the only ones who testified today. rebekah brooks was editor of the "news of the world" when the phone hacking first took place. she admitted that mistakes were
made but said her company acted properly and quickly. she resigned last week as head of newscorp's british newspapers. back in this country where the clock is now winding down toward a possible government default, the house of representatives spent most of the day debating a republican plan to cut trillions of dollars from the federal budget. there is only one problem-- all sides concede that even if the bill did pass the senate, too-- and that's a long shot-- it faces a certain presidential veto and will never become law. so why do that when time is short? here is congressional correspondent nancy cordes. >> reporter: the house republicans pasted their answer to the debt ceiling crisis without democratic support. >> i'll bet you cash money that it ain't going to become the law. >> reporter: conservatives call the bill cut cap and balance because it cuts spending this year and caps it at 2005 levels. >> the time has come to make any increase in the debt
ceiling contingent on sending a balanced budget amendment to the states. >> reporter: democrats call it a one-sided approach that wastes time at the 11th hour. >> it is the same old plan to end the medicare guarantee, to slash medicaid, to cut education while protecting special interest tax breaks. >> reporter: but that debate was overshadowed today by an unexpected breakthrough in the senate where the so-called gang of six-- three democrats, three republicans-- released a plan to cut the debt by up to 3.7 trillion after months of rocky negotiations. >> we said... invited every member of the united states senate, democrats and republicans to come and listen to a description of the plan. >> reporter: and many senators liked what they heard. an immediate $500 billion cut in the deficit giving congressional committees six months to identify more cuts in defense and domestic spending. the plan would include new tax revenues from closing corporate
loopholes and trimming deductions for charitable giving and home mortgages. in exchange, individual income tax rates and the corporate rate would be reduced and the alternative minimum tax eliminated. >> and i support it. >> reporter: senator lamar alexander of tennessee and several other republicans signed on right away. >> there's just so many things about this plan that are going to make sense to fiscal hawks, and i'm one of them. >> reporter: the development helped to drive stocks up by more than 200 points today but it's still unclear whether this unfinished plan can be turned into legislation and pass both houses in time for that august 2 deadline, bob, which is now just two weeks away. >> bob: okay, nancy. thank you. well, this afternoon president obama welcomed this plan from that gang of six senators, calling it a significant step. >> we don't have any more time to engage in symbolic gestures. we don't have any more time to posture. it's time to get down the business of actually solving
this problem and i think we now are seeing the potential for a bipartisan consensus around what that would take. >> schieffer: norah o'donnell is our chief white house correspondent. norah, most people thought the administration had given up on that plan, so why this new optimism? >> well, i think the key is that it's bipartisan, that there are now some republicans who are willing to back this tough, comprehensive package that not only includes those spending cuts but also includes this tax reform which means increased revenues. and that is broadly consistent with what president obama has long advocated. and that gang of six that nancy was talking about includes three very conservative republicans. and that's why senator lamar alexander, who's a member of the republican leadership, got on board today. so president obama said he hopes the congressional leaders are going to start talking turkey and start the hard work of putting together a plan and the president said he hopes to call them here to the white house and hopes to report some new
progress the next few days. bob? >> schieffer: thanks, norah. a it's blistering hot across the middle of the country and it's heading east. heat watches are heading up across 30 states, that includes 11 states across the east coast which should be broiling by the week's end. here's a new one for you, heat actually closed some roads in iowa as the pavement buckled under the summer sun. the sun was hard to see in phoenix, arizona, yesterday during a massive dust storm, the second one to hit there this month. the cloud was 3,000 feet high. business is finally picking up for home builders, but you may be surprised to hear what kind of homes they're building. the f.b.i. goes after a notorious gang of computer hackers in this country. and a spectacular sight as europe's biggest volcano blows its top when the "cbs evening news" continues. as a manager, my team counts on me to stay focused.
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managed stayed afloat, holding on to the one lifeline in home construction-- apartments. >> alpha has been very busy with the apartments. >> reporter: supervisor paul novell says apartments are where the action is. more are on the drawing boards and there's more competition for projects. >> we're building a lot and estimating a lot. there's more competition, because the home builder is now trying to come into the apartment industry. >> reporter: while new home permits in l.a. suburbs were down as much as 4% the first quarter of this year, in los angeles almost 1,000 permits to build new apartments were issued in may alone, the most in three years. the surge in the building of apartments is fueled by economics and demographics. many older retirees and younger workers are choosing apartment living over home ownership. apartments are more affordable, offer more flexibility. >> i don't miss property taxes. i don't miss big utility bills. >> reporter: jonathan fitzgerald sold his five bedroom suburban house two years ago and moved to an in-town apartment.
his mortgage was $12,000 a month, his rent is $4,500. >> now i want to be closer to the office, i want to be close to my friends and all the restaurants and places that i go to on a regular basis. >> reporter: it's a trend developer rick caruso noticed years ago. he builds outdoor malls based on old urban models: retail below, apartments above. >> this is a cultural shift with the dollars following. net positive for the economy. net good for the economy. >> reporter: since the recession, caruso has invested $260 million in apartment projects. he's banking the apartment boom won't slow down any time soon. bill whitaker, cbs news, los angeles. >> schieffer: europe's most active volcano has surged to life again and it is quite a show. mount etna in sicily is blasting lava hundreds of feet into the air. molten rivers are flowing down its slopes. so far nearby towns appear to be safe. but clouds of ash from the 11,000 foot mountain disrupted some air travel today.
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and seek immediate medical care for unexpected signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. pradaxa may increase your bleeding risk if you're 75 or older, have kidney problems or a bleeding condition, like stomach ulcers. or if you take aspirin products, nsaids, or blood thinners. tell your doctor about all medicines you take, any planned medical or dental procedures, and don't stop taking pradaxa without your doctor's approval, as stopping may increase your stroke risk. other side effects include indigestion, stomach pain, upset, or burning. if you have afib not caused by a heart valve problem, ask your doctor if pradaxa can reduce your risk of a stroke. >> schieffer: the hacking scandal in london wasn't the only one in the news today. authorities say there is no connection, but the f.b.i. rounded up alleged members of a hacking gang that calls itself anonymous. here is our chief investigative
correspondent armen keteyian. >> reporter: dozens of f.b.i. agents targeted alleged members of the loose-knit hacking group. simultaneous raids driven by the u.s. attorney's office in san jose, california. armed with search warrants, agents hit six homes in new york along with locations across the country, seizing hard drives and computer accessories. according to the government, the arrests were based on a cyber attack by anonymous last december against the on line payment company paypal. paypal had suspended an account tied to the website wikileaks, cutting off on-line donations. the group has taken credit for hacking the web sites of the c.i.a. and city of orlando after police arrested people for handing out sandwiches to the homeless without a permit. this man calls himself commander-x and says he's part of anonymous and orchestrated the orlando project. he asked us to hide his identity. >> the power of anonymous is that we have the ability to affect change on the internet.
you have a site online, all of a sudden we snap our fingers and that site is gone. >> reporter: their method of choice: a denial of service attack. where hackers overwhelm web sites with a huge volume of requests for information, crashing the site, says commander-x, for a cause. >> that process is the equivalent of a virtual sit-in. it's no different, really, than taking up seats at the woolworth's lunch counter during the '50s, during the civil rights movement in the '50s and '60s. >> reporter: 16 people were arrested today but sources say they're not leaders in the group but rather people, bob, who volunteered to help in the attacks. >> schieffer: okay, thanks, armen. not quite the civil rights movement as i see it. there was a tragic accident today on a rural road in upstate new york. at least five people were killed and nine others hurt when a van filled with amish farmers crashed head on with a tractor.
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matter of days now. owners and players are said to be near agreement on a new contract. they're also said to be working on a deal to provide up to a billion dollars in benefits to retired players. as john blackstone reports tonight, thousands leave the game with very serious health problems and little money. >> i've had nine brain surgeries... >> reporter: for two seasons, george visger gave pretty much everything he had to the n.f.l. until his playing career was cut short by a major concussion and brain surgery. >> major headaches every night, projectile vomiting, i would get a ball of light in front of each eye. >> reporter: visger is one of nearly 6,000 former players left on the sidelines as the n.f.l. owners and players' association negotiate a new labor and benefits contract. two years in the n.f.l., what do you get? >> nothing. >> reporter: no pension? >> nothing. >> reporter: you're not vested? >> no. very few guys are. and even those that are vested draw next to nothing. >> reporter: to collect
benefits, players must have been in the league for four years, but just half the 13,000 retired players are eligible for pension and disability coverage. although visger was on the san francisco 49ers team that won the super bowl in 1982, he had to battle the team for five years to cover his medical expenses for nine surgeries. >> they opened me up back here, there's a tube goes on the side of my neck. >> reporter: brain damage has left him with severe short term memory loss. he uses note pads to write down almost every minute of his life. >> these are my days. >> reporter: because the next day you might not remember what you're doing? >> sometimes at the end of the day. >> reporter: today representatives of former players like visger joined the n.f.l. contract negotiations to expand coverage to more retirees. >> it don't make sense to not take care of people who took care of you in the game. >> reporter: former defensive tackle gordon wright has been waiting 30 years for an n.f.l.
pension. he and his wife struggle to pay medical bills. >> i'm angry with them because they won't accept the fact that they owe him. >> reporter: wright grew up with john mackey, the n.f.l. legend who died earlier this month from dementia. he fears brain damage suffered on the field will shorten his life, too. >> some guys, you know, some guys you grew up with, and he was a tough guy. >> we're not asking for anything other than what we've earned. >> reporter: george visger now spends an hour or so almost everyday in a hyperbaric chamber breathing pure oxygen. he says it's helping his memory but he's still waiting for help from the game that put him here. john blackstone, cbs news sacramento. >> schieffer: that's the "cbs evening news." for scott, i'm bob schieffer, thank you for watching and good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
going on." your realtime captioner is linda marie macdonald. it's kind of shopping that it's happened -- you go out to get your paper and there's some kind of crazy thing going on. >> he was trying to save a friend and wound up getting killed. the bizarre chain of recent that ended with a chef deputy's death. impaired on the job, the air traffic controller busted for allegedly directing planes while drunk. headache, cough, runny nose, many people think their office is making them sick. turns out a lot of them are right. what it takes to turn a building into one of the healthiest in the state. good evening, i'm allen martin. >> i'm dana king. it started with a phone call to a friend and it ended with the death of a sheriff's deputy. he was shot and killed while trying to help defuse a tense situation at a